[Tripping On…] Tripping On Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim

Turns out that a post-surgery wound, specifically for my spine surgery, shouldn’t drain serum for five weeks. My retiring spine doctor was surprised. He wrote this prescription for a 10-day supply of Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. I brought the prescription to my pharmacy, they read this note, and said, “sure, we have this. It’ll be ready in a spell. Give it 20.[1]” It’s a curious thing to consider how something like some serum ooze could be normalized.

I had no information about whether this was normal or not.

When I met with him three weeks ago, he said I could start taking baths in about a week, so I imagine that’s when normally the wound would have healed up completely. That’s where the shoulda-woulda-coulda game comes into play. I should’ve asked earlier about this, and if I would’ve, then I could’ve gotten the wound healed up sooner. I had no way to know. The old spine doctor didn’t tell me much about what to expect. No packet or handout about common things to expect; just wing it. It’s frustrating to consider, but that’s why it’s important not to play that game too often.

I’ve taken four of these anti-bacterial pills.

At first, I felt terrible. I felt like I was nearly running a fever. My thermometer didn’t indicate I had a fever, so it was more of a body cold or something. I suspect that the medication was clearing out whatever bacteria were still hanging out in my body and that made me feel sick. Or it could have been my having gone for a thirty-plus-minute ride to the doctor’s office, to the pharmacy, and back home. I’m still not feeling great, but I’m feeling better than yesterday or this morning.

On the good side, the drainage is roughly half the average.

I feel rather tired and it might be psychological but I feel more tired after I take the medication, but I don’t know for sure if that’s true. It’s more anecdotal and I didn’t see fatigue listed as a known side effect, so it might just be my body recovering from pushing myself too much by going out all that way. It would normally be fine for me to do. It’s frustrating but it’s fine because this should be all part of the recovery process. When I’m not feeling sick, I am starting to feel more mobile and more capable, so I’m seeing marked improvements.

I’m feeling tired so I’m going to go cook something.

I’m feeling better after cooking some chicken noodle soup and having some crackers. I remember having diarrhea last week and now these near-flu-like symptoms. This spine surgery has been rough on me, but I feel like things are on the mend. Seeing the decreased drainage is worth dredging through a few more days of possible fatigue and feeling ill because it implies that the wound will heal up so I’ll have less to worry about overall.

As a curious side-note to the wound drainage and my tailbone pain.

The skin between the bottom of the wound/scar and the top of my butt crack has had a darker, almost gray color. I have stopped bathing to accommodate this scar. I almost wonder once the wound heals into a scar and I start submerging my body back into hot water baths if that might help massage the muscles that could be feeling sore enough to hurt me so much? I have an appointment tomorrow to talk with my pain management doctor to come up with a gameplan. It’s a slow process, but it’s moving along.

I had wondered why labels always advise taking all doses unless otherwise advised.

For this medication, I don’t feel better while taking it. If it’s doing what it’s intended to do, great, and I will still take the remainder of the medication even after the wound stops oozing. I could see it being a temptation not to take the remainder since it’s tedious and difficult to remember taking every dose, but since most likely there was an infection – no matter how small – that caused the wound to heal, it’s worthwhile to take the remainder of the medication. Even if that means a total of ten days feeling fatigued, I’ll be able to do much more with my life without having an infection cause bigger damage than just oozing more than the average.

Taking medicine like this is almost like a shortcut back to good health.

When I feel well, my ambitions almost get the better of me. I have a few essays I want to write. There’s no major reason why I need to write them later tonight. I can save them for tomorrow. I have to conserve my energy for my health by doing self-care or at least looking out for myself, first, communicating in regards to my healthcare coverage as part of Tripping On The American Healthcare system, and then doing anything else that might be where my ambitions take me. The essays I write are helping to take my life in the direction I want to go, sure, it’s just I need to make sure I don’t overdo it. I’ve sacrificed my health for my writing more than I care to admit over the years. I don’t think that attitude caused me to get into my spinal situation or delayed my healing.

That much I’m willing to admit publically because I know it privately.

If anything, I would imagine that at the two-week review, we should have gone over oozing in more detail, but this was a retiring doctor. He wasn’t too concerned with the intricacies and for most the generalities will work well. For whatever reason, I’ve had a harder journey through the American Healthcare System than I should have, and so I attribute all of this to that. Eventually, I should heal up, and look back at all of this and think…

Damn, that sure was a terrible situation; good thing it’s all behind me now… right?

Quotes: [1] Despite how exciting and terrible the American Healthcare System can be, there are instances where people within it are especially casual. I should also note that when someone says 20 minutes for filling out a prescription, that’s a good sign. If they say “a few minutes” or “a few more minutes” that should be a red flag that there may be problems, as I’ve experienced before with filling out prescriptions. I get text messages, too, when my prescriptions are ready.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I’ve gotten into this habit of talking about all the medication I’ve taken. It’s been helpful since I was filling out a form yesterday regarding my healthcare. At first, it was just me talking about “trip reports” but being facetious about it since all the medication I’ve taken throughout this series has been medicine rather than recreational drugs.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 October 07 [7:49pm to “go cook something” at 8:03pm; 8:26pm to 8:42pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 07 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.